If we think of spring as the time to carry out a big clean in the house, autumn is the time to carry out a big clean-up of the garden. After a long summer of pruning, planting and watering you might feel like you deserve a bit of a rest. However, by carrying out these chores now you’ll save yourself an awful lot of bother in the new year.
Net up the pond
Falling leaves and other detritus can wreak havoc with your pond’s chemical balance. Changes to the PH level can harm any fish you have, and decomposing leaves can taint the water and also cause annoying blockages to filters. Don’t spend your life stood at the side of a pond clearing leaf-fall by hand – invest in a protective net that stops detritus from entering the pond in the first place! Netting is easy to put out and saves you so much bother in the long run.
Keep the lawn clear
It’s not just ponds that foliage can damage, leaves can also harm your lawn. A heavy canopy of leaves on the lawn will deprive it of sunlight and combined with dwindling daylight hours will reduce your grass’ growth rate – starting to damage it. The good news is you don’t need to obsess over every single leaf you just need to prevent a thick carpet from developing. While raking up foliage might seem arduous, it is good exercise. However, the job becomes an absolute breeze if you purchase a leaf blower — just be sure not to start work with it at 6am on a Sunday, or you might lose favour with the neighbours!
Well maintained garden tools can last generations, and many of us are proud to say we’re still using secateurs and snippers that belonged to grandparents. While you might not be using them too much in the coming months, now is the time to thank them for their service with some routine maintenance before putting them away for winter hibernation.
Scrub mud off of spades, sharpen loppers and give everything a good oiling. For many years motor oil was commonly applied to gardening tools to prevent rust, but today many people have understandable environmental concerns about this practice. Linseed (flax) oil is a fantastic alternative that can be applied to both wood and metal to protect it from the elements.
Sort your compost
Autumn of course creates a lot of organic material ripe for the composting, which means there’s a good chance you need to make way for it, by using up the last of last year’s compost. Remember to keep turning it to speed up the rate of decay.
Check for wildlife
Piles of leaves, logs and clippings make a very inviting home for hedgehogs. While at the time this is adorable, we’ve all heard horror stories about these dormant critters accidentally being thrown onto the fire come the fifth of November. So remember to thoroughly check any assortments of organic matter.
If you want to look out for wildlife over the lean months when they struggle to find food and shelter, why not build (or buy) a few insect and hedgehog hotels and put seeds and nuts out in feeders.
Clean the greenhouse
Now for perhaps one of the least pleasurable jobs — sanitising the greenhouse. While this can be an intense and rather dull chore, it’s very important and a vital bit of maintenance, especially if your plants suffered from the effects of any diseases or insect infestations.
Remove all pots and plants before sweeping out debris, disinfect every part of the greenhouse from path to glass. You’ll then need to ventilate it for a day or so and be sure to also clean all pots and seed trays before returning — you don’t want to invite back in any unfriendly microbes you’ve just ridden from the structure.
Pack up and clean your garden furniture
Finally, it’s time to clean and pack away garden cushions, patio rugs and other such items before the inclement weather. Diligence now will reward you in the spring! We’ve all given in to the temptation of throwing a weather protector over the BBQ and leaving it until next year. Then on the first warm day of spring, pulling back the cover to find a greasy, rusty mess. Do your future-self a favour!
Looking for more garden and lawn care tips and inspiration? Check out our other blogs here.